Americans Have Not Forgotten the 13 Soldiers
MIDDLETOWN, Pennsylvania -- When judging the nation's character, the media tend to gravitate toward its loudest voices, its most extreme measures, its deepest grudges. The result is a loss of all subtlety and nuance.
In the days and weeks following Aug. 26, when our nation lost 13 service members in a deadly terror attack in Afghanistan, something profound happened across the country that few in the national media have noticed: simple but meaningful tributes to honor those American lives lost.
At the Tattered Flag Brewery in this Dauphin County borough, just outside of Harrisburg, they set out 13 beers at the bar with an American flag in the center, marking the space "Reserved."
The Fossil Bar and Grill in Russell, Kansas, did something similar.
"We wouldn't have our freedoms without the sacrifices of the brave," said the owner, Nick Buehler. "Our community has many brave men and women who have served our country, 13 beers honor those 13 heroes, but it also honors our hometown heroes."
The table setting has spread not only through different bars and breweries across the country, but also to restaurants, diners, businesses and casinos, as well as along front yards, town squares and high schools in suburbs, cities and small towns everywhere.
Last week as college and high schools across the country kicked off their first games, hundreds of them found their own unique ways to honor the fallen 13. In North Carolina, the Greenfield Central Junior High tweeted that members of their 7th grade football team worked together to plan a ceremony before this morning's game.
"They placed flags in 13 empty chairs next to the field to remember the service members killed recently in Afghanistan."
In Gilbert, Arizona, the Campo Verde High School varsity football team carried 13 American flags to the field to honor the 13 fallen soldiers killed on Aug. 26.
Kathleen Diggs, counselor and community service coordinator at Campo Verde, said the flags were then set up near the field with 13 empty chairs.